Red Harvest -Winter 2016

by: Lindsay Pykosz

photography by: Nicole Harnishfeger

Nantucket’s two remaining cranberry bogs are monuments to the island’s agricultural past, tangible evidence of another time that have remained largely unchanged since before the Civil War.

Eleven years after the Great Fire destroyed the majority of the downtown in 1846, and 12 years before the whaleship Oak became the last of its kind to sail from the island in 1869, the first cranberry bogs were being cultivated on Nantucket.

Nearly 160 years later, the bogs continue to produce, often growing more than one million pounds of the little crimson berry.

But the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, which owns the bogs, has started to move in a different direction. This year’s crop will be the first in a threeyear process of transitioning to all organic berries at the Milestone Bog.

“We’re now in year one of being organically-grown. No herbicides were put on those bogs since last year,” said Dale Hamilton, a member of the Conservation Foundation’s board of trustees and a staunch proponent of going organic.

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